new_user's Reviews > Delicious

Delicious by Sherry Thomas
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's review
Jun 09, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: historical
Recommended to new_user by: seton
Read from February 28 to March 04, 2011

Every character in Delicious effects a subterfuge, every one wearing a mask, Verity Durante's the most literal. Readers may grow weary of the hide-and-seek between Verity and Stuart Somerset. Stuart inherits his brother's cook and lover after that man's death, but Verity and Stuart have history and, she's decided, a doomed relationship, so she hides. He falls in love with her through her culinary delights-- and later, her afternoon delights. Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk.

I can't complain about this page after page, however. I'm suspending disbelief. Once reconciled to the premise, readers notice Delicious' realism. Sherry Thomas imbues Delicious with concrete time and place (i.e. Victorian England).

Verity mentions Fanny Hill, Stuart says "MPs," not Members of Parliament. He's a military background and mentions "bombings in the eighties" and bombings in the newspaper over breakfast, recalling to the reader the beginning of our modern era and our forebears' legacy of political violence, oft forgotten. Rather than break character to explain, as a less capable author might, Thomas expects her audience to divine clues from context.

Noble Stuart's disinterest in all things bodily until Verity may distance readers, evidenced by the secondary couple's greater appeal to reviewers (they're funnier- symphonic concerts, anyone?); likewise, Stuart and Verity's connection through her food and flashbacks versus a complete relationship, now. Whimsical, see?

Stuart and Verity's meaningful encounters in the present, however, compensate. At one time, Verity comforts Stuart, and I lauded Thomas. Her characters do not exist in a vacuum; they do not only think of their lust or even their love together. They live lives, hurt independently in "unexciting" ways, and the romantic interest is whomever's still standing, the person there to comfort them through an ugly, blotch-faced cry. This is real. Subdued her works may be, but not the less substantial or emotionally affecting for that.

Through nuances, Thomas portrays a more honest humanity, less dramatic but more complex, subtle and varied, far from cloning archetypes. She knows the pride of a man, once a poor boy, who thinks in passing, "never impose, never importune," his struggle to ask for something twice.

Food is simply a vehicle, a means for Verity to express her passion, and hunger a positive manifestation of renewed meaning to empty gestures, be that eating or a superficial marriage. For the record, I share Stuart's sentiment: "Food was sustenance, something to keep him alive and healthy, nothing more." Regarding Cinderella, the fairy tale is simply there to be negated:
"It’s because these tales have been written by men, men who have never spent so much as an hour in the kitchen. The real Cinderella curses, smokes, and drinks a bit too much. Her feet hurt. Her back hurts. And she’s resentful. She would like her pumpkin coach to run over the Wicked Stepmother. And Prince Toad too, if possible."
Delicious is not a retelling or even near one, except for Verity's ludicrous, overlong disguise and a too-neat ending; that was just an excuse. By discussing fairy tales, Verity and Stuart confess their histories and dreams and through that thin guise reveal themselves.

Like His at Night , Delicious' premise is absurd, but Delicious has more substance. I saw much more than a Cinderella remake or the silly premise. The poignant themes of grief and estrangement, a brother's death and two brothers' relationship, really resonated with me, among other things. If you like a subdued tone, realistic, flawed, three-dimensional characters (with jobs), and of course, beautiful prose in your historical romance, I recommend Delicious.
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Reading Progress

02/28/2011 page 1
0.0% "At last! I told you I would start today, Quinn! LOL." 4 comments
03/01/2011 page 26
6.0% ""But fairy tales concerned only virtuous, blameless girls, girls as pure in body and soul as they were beautiful. There were no fairy tales for women of impaired judgment who had brought about their own disgrace and heartache."" 4 comments
03/02/2011 page 74
18.0% ""He wasn't a flirt. He could not take her question lightly." I like that." 9 comments
03/02/2011 page 128
32.0% "So uncool, Verity! Give this boy the illusion he's your son and everything he's looking for, and then tell him nope, nah, don't know who your parents all, no idea at all." 18 comments
03/02/2011 page 166
41.0% "" any other self-respecting domicile in Britain, did its very best not to smell of food [without] the luxury of separating the kitchen from the main dwelling, an advantage of the country house. Instead, the kitchen was relegated to the basement, with both the kitchen door and the green baize door that led to the basement shut tight at all times." That's genius! Basement kitchens! I hate the smell of cooking!" 4 comments
03/02/2011 page 166
41.0% "I did not expect that to be Marsden's secret. o.O" 10 comments
03/02/2011 page 168
42.0% "Why does non-foodie = non-sexual immediately? LOL." 11 comments
03/02/2011 page 226
56.0% "The basement scene was unbelievably depressing, man. Don't take your family for granted." 2 comments
02/05/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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Wicked Incognito Now Weird. Most ST fans dislike this one book among all four. Delicious is my fave among ST, just because the longing is palpable. There are textures to ST's writing within this novel that appealed to me on many levels.

new_user Really? Hmmm, I guess we'll see. By the looks of it, it's not something I would normally like since I don't like the lighter books, and I've heard the secondary romance is better than the main. The secondary hero is almost as great as Leo, I hear. *_*

Quinn Where for art thou, NU? Have you started this yet?

new_user LOL! I know! I thought I would have started this already, but looks like I can't get away from everyone this weekend! Definitely tomorrow. How are you liking it?

Quinn LOL. No worries, I'll be able to chat with you as you catch up. Loving it so far, NU!

message 6: by Regina (new)

Regina Oh, that sounds very sad! I am guessing something horrible happened in the basement?

new_user Not quite. More like he came to a sad realization.

message 8: by Regina (new)

Regina Oh. I see.

Catherine I see you're finished now. I'm curious to see what you thought about it.

new_user Going to review soon! :)

message 11: by Vered (new)

Vered So you went HR us (us being... Well, us). Are you finished? Got it out of your system?? Can we go back to Mercy now??

new_user LOL! I have to switch it up, y'know! But I've had a dose of my two top HR authors -and in the case of one of them, I've read all the books she has to offer, LOL!- so I'm cool for now, LOL. To the Mercy!

Eastofoz So did you like it as much as the others by her?

new_user I did. :) This is my favorite after Not Quite a Husband. I think His at Night was her poorest effort. The characters seemed less sympathetic and real than any of the rest.

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* Excellent review, NU! I still have yet to read Sherry Thomas' work. I do have Not Quite a Husband and Private Arrangements that I plan to read in the next few months.

Lady of the Lake Nice review. I had started this after finishing a muched loved PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS but I put it back onto the TO BE READ pile quickly instead as I couldn't get my head wrapped Around the storyline or around the characters.... But you make me want to pick it up and try again. Well done. 

Catherine Nice review, NU. I'm glad it ended up working for you after all.

new_user Thanks all! Jayne, I hope you like her! Keep in mind she is not dramatic! LOL. Also, she uses flashbacks frequently.

Elizabeth, the beginning is rough and a little confusing with the flashbacks, but once you get used to them every other chapter and the writing settles into Thomas' usual rhythm, it gets better. Maybe you'd like it on a second read. :D

Thanks, Catherine! I'm glad too. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting to like it.

Quinn Great review, NU!

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* new_user wrote: "Thanks all! Jayne, I hope you like her! Keep in mind she is not dramatic! LOL. Also, she uses flashbacks frequently."

Not dramatic and uses flashbacks frequently. Got it! Thanks for the "warning". ^_^

new_user Thanks, Quinn!

LOL, np, Jayne.

Fani *loves angst* Great review nu! You convinced me to read this after all:)

new_user Thanks, Fani! Hopefully you don't regret it, LOL!

Fani *loves angst* Come on! It's Sherry Thomas. How bad can it be?

new_user LOL. I didn't think bad at all. ;)

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Have I told you how great this line is?

Likewise, Stuart and Verity's connection through her food and flashbacks over a complete relationship, now. Whimsical, see?

I do see, I do.

new_user LOL. There's no verb in that sentence. I had to fix it a little bit. Hopefully, it's more comprehensible now.

message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

No, I liked it. It reminded me of something that I couldn't quite place, but I knew I liked.

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